My grandfather’s advice

I just got off the phone with my grandfather. He’s a stern and methodical man, he always has been. I’ve admired him for his need for order, love of lists, habit of writing things down and undying curiosity. I share these characteristics too and I truly believe that these things have rubbed off on me, or I’ve inherited them from him. I value what he has to say to me over almost anyone else. Even though he doesn’t make sense to me at times or his solutions to my issues are invalid, I know that he only wants the best for me.

He’d called this morning, but I didn’t answer since I was in a class. Yet, when I called him back a few minutes ago, he started our conversation by telling me that I think too negatively and don’t believe in myself enough. I see where he’s coming from. I’m always repeating phrases like: “I don’t know if I’ll do well”, “I don’t know if I’ll get in”, “Let’s wait for the results, who knows?” to both him and my grandmother.

I am the kind of person who says things, “I probably didn’t get in”, “I don’t think I did too well”, etc. all too often. I don’t want to come across as overconfident even though I do believe that I have achieved a goal or done well at something. I always undermine myself until the results are out. And then, I get really awkward when people close to me (like my grandparents) say, “I knew you’d do it”.

What I’m trying to say is, I see where my grandfather is coming from. I do portray a sense of underconfidence under a façade of what I convince myself is humility.

Which brings me to what he said. He told me, “Aditi, I called you to demand that you throw your negative thinking away. You always tell your aaji (grandmother) and I that you’re not sure of the outcome of things. I want that to stop. I want you to believe that you are going to get what you desire, because that is the first step to success. You can achieve absolutely anything in this world if you believe that you can.”

He went on to say, “Increase your confidence, don’t keep saying that you didn’t do well at things or that you are not sure how you did. Believe that you will do well and you definitely will. This confidence will help you succeed.”

He asked me, “Will you ever forget what I have told you?”

I said, “No, never.”

No, never. Those are the exact words that I uttered because I will genuinely never forget.

My grandfather has given me tons of advice in my twenty years but this phone call felt like the most important conversation I have ever had with him. This piece of advice is the most valuable to me, because he’s right; I do hide under ‘I’m not sure’s and ‘I don’t know’s. But it’s time to stop. Displaying confidence in my own ability is good. And I have got to start practising it.

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